The Young Avenger
The Town of No Return
Direction: Four out of five. Not Roy Ward Baker's directorial debut in the production order, but certainly his in the transmission order, the director who worked with Hitchcock makes his dark style very evident here. We have multiple shots of such things as the church in a dark light, as if to emphasise the difference between Little Bazeley and any other normal town. Great, but not as good as "Too Many Christmas Trees."
Plot: Four and a half out of five. Although it gets done many times afterwards in the series (from "The Living Dead" right through to "Forward Base" in some respect), I happen to be really fond of this episode's plot. It is not immediately obvious what is going on straight away, as it sometimes is with some episodes. Well done to Brian Clemens for breaking away from the videotaped series so successfully.
Wittiness: Three and a half out of five. There is the hilarious scene in Steed's room, where he goes through his things and does not find a single thing which is not already defaced, torn or unusable. "Ah well, back to nature," he remarks. Then there is the scene in Emma's flat at the start, but you will just have to watch that.
Music: Three and a half out of five. Although not as good as the third and fourth episodes to be transmitted, this one certainly has a comfortable score. Bits of this are reused throughout the colour seasons, and the rest compliments the action all right, but there is something lacking.
Action: Four out of five. Here we have Steed versus a man with a red hot poker, and only a few lengths of rope and a bowler for protection. Then, we also have Steed and Emma versus an entire army, ready to invade Britain. The scene where he is trapped in a room with about six of the enemy, and then beats them all is hilarious! Then Emma dumps her opponent down the drain! Fantastic.
Cars/Sets/Locations: Four out of five. A good amount of location filming to complement the summer weather is in this one, but one cannot help thinking that a three piece suit and an overcoat is a bit too much for Steed to wear in July! Other than that, the airbase is certainly a good find, and we have some very good sets for the date of the programme. Unfortunately, no cars until the end, but staying on the scooter is probably bad enough!
Introduction/Tag: Five out of five. From that initial shot of the zipped-up bag emerging from the water, the fisherman not paying the slightest attention to the man, and then the man walking off cheerfully towards Little Bazeley is definitely bizarre enough for the new style of the series. Then the tag is a delight! Totally inexplicable and very funny, it sets the tone for the new style very well. I love it!
Overall Impression: Although there are some dreadful continuity errors in this episode, and no cars of any note, it does have a great plot, and two of the most prolific people to be involved with the series, Patrick Newell and Jeremy Burnham, in splendid roles, which suit them exactly. What it is lacking in mastermind terms, it more than makes up for by nature of its sheer silliness, lots of great little scenes, and the ridiculous nature of Terence Alexander's moustache. Very hard to fault, but it is not quite right for the first episode of a new season.
Rating: Eight and a half out of ten.
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